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The president’s conversation with transatlantic leaders, scheduled for Friday, comes in the wake of severe combat between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainians. The US defense secretary is meeting with his Polish colleague in a show of unity.
As worries of a Russian invasion of Ukraine grow, President Biden is scheduled to meet with global allies on Friday afternoon to discuss Moscow’s continuous buildup of military forces in an effort to avert any aggressive moves on its neighbor.
While the American president has stated that “there is a road” to a diplomatic resolution, Mr. Biden has also cautioned that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin may launch an invasion within days.
Russia has insisted that it has no plans to invade Ukraine and has dismissed American warnings as “information terrorism.” Washington and Moscow have been exchanging contradictory accounts about whether Russian forces are truly withdrawing from the Ukrainian border, with Russia insisting that it has no plans to invade and dismissing American warnings as “information terrorism.” The tensions were heightened on Thursday by the most intensive exchange of artillery fire in months between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces.
On Thursday, the separatists claimed to have come under fire from Ukrainians, a kind of fighting that Western diplomats have warned Moscow may try to use to justify military intervention. According to the Ukrainian military, shelling at a kindergarten injured three adult citizens.
Another diplomatic scramble ensued as a result of the fighting. According to a White House official, Mr. Biden will arrange a phone conversation with trans-Atlantic leaders as part of “continuing efforts to seek deterrence and diplomacy.” It is unknown who will participate.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken made an unplanned journey to New York, where he briefed the United Nations Security Council that Moscow looked to be preparing for an assault. Mr. Blinken also agreed to a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, late next week.
Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, did not specify a schedule or location for the meeting, the diplomats’ second in two months, other than to warn that it would not take place if Russia invaded Ukraine. “If they invade in the next days, it will demonstrate that they were never serious about diplomacy,” Mr. Price said in a statement.
Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, also issued a foreboding assessment on Thursday. “The overconcentration of Ukrainian soldiers along the contact line, combined with potential provocations, might pose a catastrophic threat,” he stated.